It is a frustrating issue if your Macbook is not responding or freezing. Sometimes you cannot click anything, or the Mac is unresponsive during booting. A frozen Mac can be caused by a malfunctioning macOS, hardware overheating, an app that is running a resource-intensive process, a problem with the system’s RAM, malware infection, etc. Whatever the reason, we will introduce some fixes in this article for you to unfreeze the MacBook or Mac and get it working again.

1). What to Do to Unfreeze your Mac/MacBook Air (Six Methods)

  1. Force quit the frozen app

If your Mac freezes while using a specific app but remains responsive in other programs, the app is likely causing the freezing issue. You can try force-quitting the app to resolve this.

  • Navigate to the Apple menu at the top of the screen.
  • Choose “Force Quit” from the drop-down menu.
  • Select the app that is causing the freezing problem from the list. To close that app, press the “Force Quit” button.

You can also open the Force Quit menu with the keyboard shortcut Command + Option + Esc. Then, choose the app that’s causing the problem and press Enter to close it. This should bring the unresponsive process to an end and allow you to resume using your Mac.

1.2 Try to force restart your Mac

If force-quitting an app cannot resolve the problem, or if the entire Mac gets frozen, you can follow these steps to force restart the device. Press and hold the power button on your Macbook for it to shut down, and then wait about 8 seconds and then press the power button again to turn it on. You can see if the freezing issue persists after gets restarted.

1.3 Update your Mac Computer

The outdated system is a possible reason that causes the freezing of the Mac. This issue happens more on M1 Macs that lack third-party software updates for Apple Silicon and macOS Monterey. Additionally, system bugs may also lead to MacBook freezing. To troubleshoot this issue, you could update the Mac computer to the latest version of macOS:

Step 1: Open the Apple menu, then choose “System Preferences” and then select “Software Update”.

Step 2: Click “Update Now” or “Upgrade Now” to update the Mac (check out the example picture below).

How to Fix Frozen Mac without Losing Work - Fixes and Tips

1.4 Start your Mac in Safe Mode

If you’ve tried everything else and still can’t get your frozen MacBook Air to work, you should try booting into Safe Mode. This can assist in cleaning up cache files and possibly repairing some hard drive issues. It also allows you to uninstall any recently installed third-party software that may be the culprit of the freezing. To enter Safe Mode, please refer to these steps:

If you are using the Intel-based Mac, shut down and restart it while holding down the Shift key until the Apple logo appears.

If you are using the M1 Mac, shut the computer down and wait approximately 10 seconds. Then, hold the power button down until the startup disks and Options appear on the screen. Finally, hold down the Shift key and select “Continue in Safe Mode”.

A small tip: force quitting an unsaved document, restarting, or shutting down the Mac won’t usually result in the loss of unsaved files. If necessary, proceed to the following section to recover any unsaved documents.

1.5 Free up more memory on Macbook

If your MacBook Air frequently freezes, your RAM may be nearing capacity. When this occurs, there may be insufficient space for cache files generated by running the system and programs. You could free up memory on your Mac by removing the duplicate files, unused installers, applications, and downloads, and deleting the cache files in the Library folder.

These steps can assist in freeing up some RAM space, potentially resolving the issue of Mac freezing.

1.6 Verify and repair startup disk on OS X (in macOS Recovery mode)

If your startup disk has errors, it can cause abnormal performance on your Mac, such as frequent crashes or freezes. In this condition, you could consider using the built-in Disk Utility First Aid tool in macOS Recovery mode to check and repair any errors on the startup disk.

Step 1. Restart your Mac/Macbook and press the Command + R keys simultaneously until the Apple logo appears. Hold down the power button on an M1 Mac until the startup options appear, then select Options and click “Continue”.

Step 2. In macOS Recovery mode, select Disk Utility from the list of utilities (check out the picture below).

Step 3. Choose the startup disk from the sidebar in the Disk Utility window, then click First Aid at the top, then hit the “Run” button.

Take a rest, and wait for First Aid to finish the startup disk error check and repair process. But keep in mind that First Aid can only repair minor errors in your hard drive. If your Mac continues to freeze, you may need to perform a factory reset or visit our nearby Apple laptop repair center to get it fixed.

Besides the solutions mentioned above, you may also remove the apps that you installed recently and then unplug the external devices from the computer to see if your frozen Mac will return to a normal state.

2). What to Do if the MacBook Freezes when You Open the Lid

If your MacBook enters sleep mode as usual, but when you wake it up, it becomes frozen on the login screen, this could be due to the CPU powering off unexpectedly while sleeping. This can prevent the CPU from finishing its work, resulting in the Mac freezing. Another possibility is that the Mac is unable to return to the previous system state because the RAM is the only component that remains powered during sleep. If the power goes out, the data in the RAM (which stores the state of the system before it goes to sleep) may have gotten lost.

If your Mac freezes after waking up from sleep, try waiting a few minutes to see if you can wake it up. If this fails, you may need to force restart the Mac by pressing and holding the power button for a few seconds before pressing it again to boot the system. If this doesn’t work, try booting the Mac into Safe Mode and then restarting it by clicking the Apple icon and selecting “Restart”. In most cases, entering Safe Mode will solve the problem. If the problem persists, you may need to reinstall macOS because the system has become corrupted.

3). How Can I Recover the Unsaved Documents from a Frozen Macbook

You don’t have to worry about losing unsaved documents if you force apps to quit or restart your Mac. Because Mac has an automatic file-saving feature, any unsaved documents will be saved in a separate folder. You can try to recover these documents once your Mac has returned to normal. To recover unsaved documents, simply follow these steps:

Step 1: Select “Terminal” from the Mac Launchpad.

Step 2: In Terminal, type the command listed below and press Enter to open the TMP folder (which is automatically created to save temporary files on your Mac computer).

open $TMPDIR

Step 3. Navigate to the TemporaryItems folder and right-click on the unsaved document that you need.

If your Mac continues to freeze and refuses to boot, the most effective solution is to use professional data recovery tools in macOS Recovery mode, such as iBoysoft Data Recovery for Mac, to salvage files from the unbootable Mac.